National Park: Paterson Great Falls, New Jersey

by Cie McCullough Buschle on April 20, 2012. Updated May 9, 2012

in Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

The nation’s newest park doesn’t have a mountain range or sweeping vistas, but it is conveniently located just off the Garden State Parkway exit 159. As of November 7, 2011, the Great Falls on the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey, is a National Historic Park.

Many residents of the city didn’t even know the falls were there.

At 77 feet, the falls are second only to Crabtree Falls in Virginia as the highest on the East Coast. When Alexander Hamilton was secretary of the Treasury, he selected Great Falls to be the site of the nation’s first planned industrial city. Later Paterson became the site of the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in New Jersey, and the state’s first continuous roll paper mill. Now there are plans for a new urban state park surrounding the falls.

Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey.

Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey.

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster Took. She enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and clay hand builder and spends her time traveling back in time to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Criminal lawyer Hammonton NJ May 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I love Great Falls. It’s a truly underrated destination. I would consider Niagara Falls on the East Coast, however. I suppose that would make Great Falls the third highest waterfall on the East Coast?
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Melissa Davis @ Magellan Study Abroad November 8, 2012 at 1:45 am

I thought if this fall was a man-made or natural? However, it was a great view at National Park. Is it safe to go down there and enjoy the falls?

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